Weekend open thread: New Year's edition

Happy New Year to the Bleeding Heartland community, and condolences to the Hawkeye and Cyclone fans who watched yesterday’s bowl games. Here’s hoping for a better 2012 to all.

Former Governor Chet Culver may finally get to start serving on the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation board of directors sometime in the new year. President Barack Obama appointed Culver to that position in July, but the Senate Agriculture Committee didn’t get around to holding a confirmation hearing until December 15. You can watch Culver’s testimony here, beginning with Senator Tom Harkin’s introduction around the 76:00 mark. No senators on the Agriculture Committee raised objections to Culver’s appointment, so if it ever comes up for a vote on the Senate floor, he is likely to be confirmed.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

  • How about this idea:

    Some people I know have been meeting quietly, discussing the possibiity of an independent congressional candidacy for IA 03. This is their thinking –  Voters are angry at Congress, and here we have two long entrenched congressional incumbents running….one is in a new district, the other not all that popular within his own party.  

    So you give voters a third party choice. This group has a candidate in mind….a person of impeccable reputation and name recognition…a pragmatic non politician with a proven track record in private business and public service.

    There would be some good money behind the effort.  Not huge dollars, but enough to compete. You would recognize the name of one of the group as having access to sizeable money. The thesis of the campaign would be:  “Okay voters, you say you are unhappy with Congress? Well, now you have a choice….vote for the status quo, or something different.”

    In the old days, I would dismiss this out of hand as a doomed effort, but with Congressional approval ratings in SINGLE DIGITS, it might have a shot. All bets are off these days.

    The question before the group is whether they could get this candidate to run. It has to be the right person for the effort to have a chance.

    • hard to imagine

      some “true” independent. Sounds like this group is trying to siphon some votes from, let’s say, Latham. People may hate Congress, but they are less judgmental when evaluating their “own” Congressperson.

      Without more info, I’d put this down as somewhat unpredictable w/ the potential to net the same result as a 2-person race.

      Take for example Huser-Pearson in HD-30. A third-party guy took more votes than Pearson’s winning margin. However, I’d disagree with the implication that his presence is why Huser lost the race because he drew pretty equally from Person-favored and Huser-favored precincts. It was a split result w/ Pearson winning over an incumbent due to hard work and an enthusiasm gap. If your independent is a “true” independent, he may impact the race the same way, but it’s sort of a “no effect” type candidacy.

      Three options – tilt the race, no effect or outright win. I put low odds on the last option, unless this candidate is able to generate the warm fuzzies that Iowans reserve for incumbents.

      not all that popular within his own party

      What do you mean by this? Boswell outperformed Obama in ’08 and outperformed other Dems on the ticket in ’10. Find me all of these Dems that outperform Boswell under adverse conditions (not an easy district, not a slam-dunk Dem year). Polk has a whole lotta Republicans/leaners, so if you want someone less conservative than Boswell, you have to show that the more liberal candidate has a turnout machine. Good luck getting youth/minorities/foreign-born/single women to consistently turn out while running these conservative suburbia-oriented campaigns. It’s not clear yet whether even Obama can pull it off.

      All of the people here who gripe “Blue Dog” are assuming that other people in the party feel the same way, and are assuming that various demographics they rely on will always be along for the ride to support their candidate. Note: I am not defending Boswell’s voting record, just acknowledging reality.

    • I find that scenario

      highly unlikely. I can’t think of a candidate with the name recognition and fundraising potential to pull that off. When was the last time Iowans elected an independent candidate in a partisan race?

  • Have a nice Semi-Constitutional Oligarchy...

    TARP, NDAA, SOPA, extrajudicial execution of a US citizen by drone?  Welcome to hell, sponsored in part by House and Senate Democrats.  Of course, POTUS gets a standing ovation for helping out and giving the merchants of death the go-ahead nod.  

    • I thought SOPA was on the rocks

      I think conservatives in Congress are being lobbied hard against that bill–last I heard its prospects were slim, but maybe I have it confused with something else.

      • THOMAS @ LOCAT Shows H.R. 3261 as active...

        There’s a lot of backlash, and a lot of rhetoric from Google and Yahoo and whatnot, but I think it will pass.  Last year they shut down a shitload of bit torrent domains under the auspices of “anti-piracy”.   The timing in terms of the release of the Diplomatic Cables by Wikileaks was, I am sure, entirely coincidental.

        Exactly like the timing of the U.S. FBI raid and seizure of the Indymedia servers right before the ’04 RNC.  Funny thing, those servers were in a community center on Cowley Road, Oxford, UK.  And yes, U.S. FBI agents in FBI vests took every computer in the building.  In England.

        People here in the United States seem to have no idea the amount of freedoms that have been lost in the past decade.    

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